As I begin my entry for this week I would challenge my readers to consider themselves as the Cancer patient.
To begin my week I had a lapse of intelligence and put my cell phone on top of our vehicle while I put my granddaughter into her seat. I then proceeded to get in and off we went. Did you catch the lapse ? The cell phone was on the top of the vehicle as we drove off. No, it was never found. What a lesson in how important a "stupid" little device has become. I was not able to communicate easily with anyone and more importantly not able to receive any calls from the Cancer Center. The cost of this lesson ended up to be $130.
It had finally arrived the day I was going to get setup for radiation treatment, see my Oncologist and have my first injections for hormone treatment.
I was called into the radiation side of the Cancer Center and told to get undressed and put the very well starched hospital gown on. I opened the door to indicate I was ready and two nurses came in to begin the setup. My legs were put on a foamy cushion and one of the nurses started tugging at the gown to pull it from underneath me. I moved to allow easier movement and was simply told to just let them do the work. The foam cushion then had the air sucked out of the "bag" it was in and my legs were now trapped in a mold and could not move. The gown was moved up and a towel was placed to cover my privates, but just barely.
I was now in position and moved into the CT machine. A quick scan was done and the bad news delivered - my bladder was not full. I was given drink of water and we waited 20 minutes. I was repositioned and another scan was done and of course my bladder is still not full enough. Yet another drink of water and another 20 minute wait. Another quick scan and drum roll please - my bladder was full. Let me add to this that I do not drink tap water without it being filtered and in the fridge to get nice and cold. Those two drinks were, what word should I use - disgusting.
One other thing they were looking for during these scans was that my rectum was empty. A requirement so that when it is time for the radiation treatment nothing is in the way of the Prostate. I had known this before heading to the Cancer Center and had taken care of that with some help.
A longer scan was done and I received three quick tattoos (dots). These dots would be used to line me up for radiation treatments. The entire process took just over an hour.
On friday I was told my radiation treatments would begin on Monday. I was told that I should make sure my bladder was full and my rectum empty. So to keep things as real as possible on my blog -- I now have two issues: How does one poop on command ? How does one poop and not end up emptying the bladder ?
I now had to wait to see my Oncologist. My appointment was actually only 15 minutes away when I sat down in the waiting area. I want to make sure I stress this as loud as possible - I am not complaining. My Oncologist is also a Hematologist and she is very thorough. Dr. Pat - is very good at what she does and I get the impression that no matter where I am within the Hospital - other doctors know her. Anyway, my appointment for 10:30 didn't happen until 12:20.
Dr. Pat pulls up my results from a CT Scan she ordered and starts reading the report. Letting me know what she is reading and her person input on the information. Then it happens she says something that doesn't hit me really hard until I am waiting for my injections. My Oncologist looks at me and says "You have four small spots on your right lung and one spot on your left lung." She paused and then continued - "They are small only 2mm". She grabbed a ruler and showed me what 2mm looks like.
The conversation continued and I indicated that after reading the side effects to one of the drugs that I was going to get - I thought it would be best to just do a one month shot. Dr. Pat agreed.
I headed back out to the waiting area gave the reception desk the paper from Dr. Pat and sat down. My wait this time to get my injection was about 1.5 hours. A nurse stopped and talked me to at one point and let me know what was going on. They had to wait for the approval from the insurance company. Sorry, but to me I can't believe the insurance company has the opportunity to deny treatment to a Cancer patient.
It was during this wait that the thought of having 5 small spots on my lungs hit and hit hard. It was only 7 months ago that I was holding the hand of an aunt while we waited for her passing. She had undiagnosed or maybe I use the term unconfirmed lung cancer. I think I have already shared in a previous weekly entry the poem I wrote while she was in the hospital - Cancer Victory.
After the approval I was taken into a small room and allowed to sit. I was told by the nurse that one shot would be in the back of my arm and the other would have to go towards the top of my GM (butt). The first shot was given and I almost immediately felt a little loopy. The second shot didn't hurt because of the location but it sure did want me to know it had happened and burned.
I was finally able to leave the Cancer Center at about 1:40pm after arriving there at 8:30am. I have already learned that one thing Cancer Warriors have is patience.
I head out of the center and begin to realize very quickly that both my arms feel like lead weights. I figure I will be able to shake it off once I get to work and getting moving my arms. That didn't happen. I was only able to handle about 40 minutes of attempting to type before I said this isn't working and more to the point it hurts. I let my wonderful supervisor know and left.
The lead weight feeling left my arms but decided to reside in both thighs for a few days. The best way for me to describe my walk is Tim Conway's old man. Now if you are a younger person you may need to go to You Tube and find one the videos with Tim Conway.
I have also found that one of the side effects of my hormone therapy drug - Lupron is muscle ache / pain. Oh yes, I have it. I am not bothered by this side effect most of the day. However, it sure loves to screw up my sleep. My body becomes one continous ache after I have been in bed for a few hours. The simple task of rolling over hurts. Getting up helps but the shoulders hold on to this lovely ache the longest. I attempted to head back to bed this morning but just laying there wanting to fall asleep hurt. How do you find a comfortable position when every muscle hurts ?
I am up after a shortened night typing this entry before 7am on a Saturday. I am also hoping that I can find some way of getting comfortable in just a bit either on our couch or an empty bed and getting back to sleep. I went to the couch and actually slept on my right side for about 2 hour. All in okay, but of course for me being on my right side just ends up causing another pain. You see my right lower rib has already been hit with the spread of my cancer. Dr. Pat has asked me to monitor when it is sore and then she may decide on radiation treatments for my rib. I can only hope that with all the radiation being thrown at me that I can become the first real super hero in the form of the Hulk. I hate green but if I can become the Hulk I will just deal with the color.
As I have been experiencing aches and pains during the night I decided to use a Hydrocodone I had sitting around. I managed to sleep just over 5 hours in one position (on my back). I know this because I have a CPAP machine. When I awoke I felt more like Imy limbs were concrete than anything else. I also found that I was hyper-ventilating which once I realized that I got that under control. I lay there feeling my legs and arms were concrete and wanting to move. I talked to myself and made my left arm fall off my chest and hang down off the bed. That movement caused the heaviness to leave and now I could slowly move one arm. I waved it around which I can only guess got the blood moving and I began to feel my body awaken. The aches hung around for about 20 minutes but I could finally move and stand up.
That about sums my week and my weekend. Tomorrow (Monday) I start my radiation treatments - everyday (monday - friday) until the end of August.
Oops I was wrong. I bought two t-shirts yesterday. One for myself and one for my wife. They both say the same thing - "Cancer Warrior" and have the Cancer ribbon with appropriate colors for both of us Pink for my wife and Light Blue for myself.
Onward I go... Sorry, I haven't been inspired this week to author a poem. Not that I expect it but it would sure be nice to get an email or two from my readers I am open to questions as I want this website and especially my blog to educate. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )